Less than useless gauges

I reminds me of all of those posters who report anything from weird sounds in the front end to no start conditions, and report that they checked the oil and have it changed regularly.

Hmm, don’t know.
It’s a good ol’ quadrajet carbureted 350 engine , not computerized like newer ones, and by the time you get to 45 your mind is thinking it should shift again , but it’s done with the three speeds that it has. When you get out on the open highway, speed limit 75, that engine is just singing. I go about 65 and really don’t know if I’m asking too much of the engine if I was to go 75 for two hours it takes to Albuquerque.

I am going to have to disagree with both of you.

I don’t think a fuel gauge is redundant, but if cars had fuel reserves and switches like most motorcycles, we could do without the gauges.

Personally, I don’t like the feeling of running out of gas on my motorcycle and having to flip the switch to “reserve” while I am riding down the interstate, so I use the trip odometer to fill-up every 100-120 miles.

TwinTurbo, all you need to do is have a margin of error. If your fuel tank holds enough to take you 350 miles, you can refuel every 250 miles of commuting. On longer trips, you could probably stretch it to 300 miles if you don’t encounter any traffic jams.

meanjoe75fan, what happens if something goes wrong and fuel economy drops without expressing any other symptoms? If your car doesn’t have a fuel reserve, you would be stuck on the side of the road with no fuel.

Not really. When I saw the condition of the inside of her refrigerator, I decided to do the cooking myself. I am a better cook anyway.

My motorcycles are not computerized either. One has a tach and the other doesn’t. I think wind resistance is what keeps them from redlining at full throttle in top gear.

First off, I hate the fact that the bike has the reserve rather than a fuel gauge. Ever forgotten to flip yours back after refueling? If not, you’re due! A 1400cc bike is no fun to push 3 miles…

There are many things I could do instead of having a gauge that actually tells me how much fuel I have. You provided one option. I could also hire someone to monitor it for me, I could put one of those temperature strips on the tank that you hose down and look at the level like my bar-b-que or I could call the psychic hotline. But I don’t have to take risks and guess because I have a real gauge that tells me very accurately how much fuel I have on board. If I was hell bent on extreme austerity, this gauge would still be in my vehicle. YMMV so check that gas level!


Look in Hemmings Motor News and see if they still make those after market tachs with the hood cowling that you hook to the distributor. It means cutting a hole in the hood, but the cowling covers it, and you read the tachometer from the cab and it is not sitting on your dash like an unlikely toad.

I did spot the ‘less’ vs ‘fewer’ mistake right after I posted, but now I can’t change it.

Today the oil and battery warning lights could be designed with much smarter functionality.
Start with a pressure transducer for the oil pressure instead of a simple switch.

Don’t get me wrong. I love gauges, meters, scopes etc. I’m making measurements all day.
I just think it’s TMI for some people while they’re driving.

“The less gauges the better, unless you’re racing.”

for racing, you only need a tach and a couple temperature gauges. if you want a speedo, I’ve seen bike speedometers adapted on to the column. (unnecessary, because they show on a huge sign at the end of the track, or it doesnt matter, so long as your in first)

It’s been talked around but I’d like to see an hour gauge as we have on equipment that’s calibrated to rpm.

For example…Max torque at 2500 rpm for a motor would read one “hour” of operation at 2500 rpm for one hour…so 2 hours at 1250 rpm would give you one hour also; as would one half hour at 5000 rpm.

For me, this is most effective way of determining maintenance intervals for “any” internal combustion engine/transmission.

We’ll be checking on you regularly. Make sure there are fewer mistakes. :slight_smile:
I agree some what, but overall, I’m tired of the Christmas tree lights and want more gauges; round ones with needles.

Hold on a sec- you might want to qualify that with the type of racing you’re talking about. Weekend warrior? You don’t need much in the way of instrumentation (binary gas pedal). More serious involvement? You’ll quickly find yourself in the poor house from blowing your stuff up on a regular basis and/or being inconsistent and never being in the money.

When I first got into drag racing, all I needed was a tach trip light in my peripheral vision. As you move up in the ranks, you start to need a lot more gauging, especially for the power adders and trans.

Those guys going in circles or oddly shaped serpentine courses need their gauging as well.

Caterpillar and other diesel engine manufacturers are now shifting to Lbs of fuel consumed as a maintenance interval. This is more accurate than operating hours, since it takes into acount the actual power produced, which is what uses up the engine additives, and wears out the oil.

Luckily, I use the reserve so infrequently, I remember to switch back. I am paranoid enough about it that on a long trip, I will reach down to feel the position of the fuel switch, and make sure it isn’t on “reserve.”

Some of the cost-saving design “features” on motorcycles are so cheesy, and the lack of a fuel gauge is one of them. I would happily pay extra for some of the corners they cut, like the fuel gauge. Maybe someday I will own a motorcycle that is fancy enough to have a fuel gauge.

Oh Well Whitey, She Must Be Really Smart If She Likes You, Right ?


I like that idea. Either one is more beneficial than miles traveled. Obviously equipment may not “travel”, but it’s just as important to consider work load whether it be lbs of fuel or work hours over miles traveled…probably one of the most useless way to measure oil change intervals.

In a case like this it can be near impossible to convince them otherwise. I prefer gauges but then again, I’m in the habit of monitoring them while driving.
Even with an idiot light for the oil pressure consider how many people (even posters on this board) state they know that light is on and yet will try to make it another 40 miles anyway.

I’ve seen more than one car towed in with connecting rod(s) sticking through the block and in which the owners changed the oil and filter hoping this would help.

Of course, “regularly” may actually mean regularly every 3 years–whether it needs it or not.

But, you are right. Somehow, there seem to be a lot of people who forget that there is a huge amount of car maintenance beyond oil changes.

My paranoia is with the choke. I’m almost OCD about it after I left it on once for a 40 mile expressway ride. When I got off the expressway, I realized what I had done and found the exhaust pipes discolored (nice blue to gold to chrome fading effect). The trouble there is, you can scorch your hand pretty good on the pipes if you miss the choke and feel the position of the exhaust pipe. Yep, still there!

My bike does not have a tach. I’ve almost gotten used to it after 8 years. If I had more time, I’d rig one up. Until then, I have to live with the occasional “I wonder if there’s another gear left”.

I hate to disagree with you but she used the gauge properly, even if she doesn?t understand the ?problem?. She noticed that gauge was reading less then it usually does, and that indicated to her that there was a problem, since it was an oil gauge it must mean it was low on oil. It would have been far better to explain to her it doesn?t read oil level but pressure.

Now that she noticed it?s reading lower than normal pressure, it?s time to check and see if there really is a problem or if the lower pressure was the result of thinner oil, warmer weather, engine wear, oil pump, or some combination of them. It could be there really is a problem that would be reality cheap to fix now, or it might be something to keep your on. And trust me if she noticed it was lower it?s a lot lower, 99+% won?t notice a slight dip in pressure when reading a gauge. So now is the time to check it out.

As far as idiot light go, they are really good at telling you it?s too late to fix the problem.

Can you tell me without a gauge can you tell me if your car is running too cold? Is your oil pressure at low, but still high enough not to set off the idiot light? Maybe its too high. Gauges not only tell you if there is a problem, but let you monitor your expensive engine and gives you a chance to fix it before you ruin and engine.

And yes I have a full set of gauges, I can tell you what my engine temp is, my oil pressure is, what my RPMs are, how much fuel I have left.

So you buddy should explain what each gauge means, then check out the car and find out why there was a drop in oil pressure. It might be nothing, or it might be an oil pump that needs to be replaced.

My opinions are subject to change with new facts.